The Texas Rangers may be, finally, willing to trade Yu Darvish.
After a loss to the Miami Marlins Monday night, the Texas Rangers are 3.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals for the second wild card spot in the American League. Some wavering on being a trade deadline buyer or seller has been reported, but according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels has told teams he is open to trading Yu Darvish for the “right deal.”
Scouts from the Cubs and Dodgers were reportedly at Darvish’s most recent start last Friday night, when he had 12 strikeouts and just one walk over eight innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Over 21 starts this season (133.1 innings), Darvish is 6-8 with a 3.44 ERA, a 9.7 K/9 rate and a 2.9 BB/9 rate. Over his last six outings, he has a 44:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio with four of those free passes in one start.
Darvish is in the last year of his contract, and a desire to re-sign him long-term apparently factored in to some hesitation from the Rangers to trade him before the deadline. The Dodgers were reported to have strong interest in Darvish on Sunday, and Clayton Kershaw’s possible 4-6 week absence with a back injury is sure to keep that the case. So a flip toward wanting to move Darvish surely comes with some extra trade leverage, with contending teams trying to make a move for a starting pitcher. As a rest of the season rental, Darvish carries a lot of appeal.
Exactly what Daniels would consider to be the “right deal” for Darvish is unclear. But it can be assumed a top prospect or two is a good starting point in trade talks, with current big league level talent a possible priority for Texas too.
Even without a win in seven straight starts, Darvish is pitching well at the right time. The Rangers have to strike while that iron is hot, as they slowly fade from legitimate playoff contention.